Musician Bowled Over by Shen Yun

April 10, 2011 Updated: April 13, 2011

LONDON—Musician Dan Shafran was “bowled over” by the Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company’s presentation of China's true cultural heritage staged at The London Coliseum on April 7.

“The music is beautiful,” Mr. Shafran said. “I love the combination of Eastern and Western music … it’s beautifully played. And I particularly enjoyed the singer, who is extremely talented and has a beautiful voice.”

New York-based Shen Yun is world-acclaimed as the foremost in classical Chinese dance and music with a trio of award-winning vocalists and a soloist erhu virtuoso accompanied by piano.

The company also features exquisitely attired dancers choreographed to fit hi-tech animated backdrops and backed by the Shen Yun Orchestra playing a fusion of ancient Chinese and contemporary Western instruments.

Mr. Shafran is a professional musician in the West End. He has performed in Lion King and We Will Rock You , among many other shows.

He said earlier that he really doesn't like dance and finds his mind wandering, but the pace of the show was perfect and his mind didn't wander at all.

"I was completely bowled over by this extraordinary performance. I'm so proud to be able to say that I know one of the producers of this amazing show. I'm coming to see it next year!"

Mr. Shafran was enjoying the show, a reawakening of ancient China’s divinely-bestowed traditions desecrated under communism rule, with his wife Fiona Shafran and her friend Penny Jeffries from Hastings.

“It’s very, very dramatic and very beautiful. Very surprising, very synchronized dancing, and I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Ms. Jeffries, who works in theatre box office. “The music is lovely … the [i]erhu[/i]—that’s a lovely, lovely sound. The orchestra is very good and I’m really enjoying every minute.”

The two-stringed ancient Chinese erhu, commonly called a Chinese violin, mesmerises audiences with its hauntingly otherworldly notes.

Mrs. Shafran, a HR director for an advertising agency, had seen Shen Yun before in 2009 at the New London Theatre together with Ms. Jeffries.

She said, “I’m really enjoying it … It’s a spectacle, it’s visually very rich. The dancing is beautiful with such grace, but also a lot of energy. So I think it’s a marvellous evening.”

Having danced when younger, Mrs. Shafran enjoyed watching the dancing, especially the piece "with the women that were dancing with the hats, which was just magical," she said, referring to Min Nan Grace, in which female dancers frolic on the shores of the South China Sea wearing traditional bamboo hats.

Every year, Shen Yun unveils an entirely new lineup of dances, songs, and musical scores, the Shen Yun website says. At the core of Shen Yun’s performances is classical Chinese dance with China's numerous ethnic and folk dance styles rounding out the evening.

She would gladly recommend the Shen Yun show to others.

Reporting Jingwen Wang and Raiatea Tahana-Reese.

Shen Yun Performing Arts Touring Company continues its 2011 World Tour with shows at the Hague starting April 12. For more information, visit